PNE must wait for Villa decision

PNE have asked permission from Villa to play Callum Robinson in the play-offs
PNE have asked permission from Villa to play Callum Robinson in the play-offs
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Preston North End are waiting on a decision from Aston Villa over whether Callum Robinson can stay on for the play-offs.

The youngster’s youth loan does cover the end-of-season knockout but needs the green light from Villa first.

PNE are hopeful of getting the nod, Robinson having been back in the Midlands yesterday to speak with Villans boss Tim Sherwood.

The terms of the loans of Paul Gallagher, Sam Johnstone and Jermanine Beckford covers the period of the play-offs.

And PNE can also call upon the services of Jordan Hugill who is back from a successful loan spell at Hartlepool.

North End play Chesterfield in the semi-final first leg at the Proact Stadium tomorrow night (7.45pm).

The return leg at Deepdale is on Sunday lunchtime (12.15pm).

Lilywhites manager Simon Grayson told the Evening Post: “We are trying to extend Callum’s loan.

“We have been given permission by Manchester United, Leicester and Bolton for Sam Johnstone, Gally and Jermaine to play.

“We’re waiting to hear from Aston Villa about Callum.

“Tim Sherwood wanted to see the lad and have a chat with him, so we’re very much in their hands.

“I know what Callum wants to do – he wants to be part of things here.

“We will be respectful if Villa and Tim want to do anything different.”

Robinson, 20, has been on loan twice at Deepdale this season.

He initially joined Preston in September, playing 11 games and scoring five goals before being recalled to Villa by former boss Paul Lambert.

PNE brought the England Under-20s international back in early February, and he has made 16 appearances since, netting twice.

He has started the last two games on the bench and was a 58th-minute substitute for Chris Humphrey in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Colchester which meant Preston missed out on automatic promotion.

The build-up to playing Chesterfield started yesterday for the PNE players.

Despite the disappointment of having automatic promotion taken away on the final day of the campaign, Grayson is buoyant about his side’s chances in the play-offs.

He said: “There was a lot of emotion after Sunday’s game, which you would expect.

“The dressing room was really quiet, as was the journey home from Colchester.

“But that is gone – we unfortunately cannot do anything about it now and we look forward to the play-offs.

“We have two big games on Thursday and Sunday, a second chance.

“We know a big opportunity was taken away from us at the weekend.

“Football has a way of kicking you where it hurts and it is now about how we respond to that. The players had a day away from each other to reflect on things.

“What we must remember is that we have lost only once in 19 games, until Sunday had scored in every league game since November 4 and we finished 20 points clear of sixth place.”